Review by Numan_lord

Reviewed: 01/27/10

Athena lets Go!

Any one who has played a King of Fighters game should know Athena Asamiya quite well. She has appeared in all of its current twelve additions of the series plus many spin-offs and other SNK games too. Just like many characters she is not a KOF original, no, Athena stared in her own action platform game called Psycho Soldier. Don’t let the name fool you its not a game about some psychiatric army dude slaughtering people lol. Psycho Soldier is the spiritual sequel to the unique but frustrating game called Athena that was available on the NES.

Gameplay: 7 / 10
Okay then, Psycho Soldier is a basic side scrolling action platform game. It incorporates features such as collecting items to make Athena stronger, defeating enemies by firing projectiles, dodging and destroying obstacles and defeating gigantic, insanely, nasty, cheap, end level bosses. Something SNK is known quite well for. Throughout the game Athena can collect types of orbs that will help protect her from enemies and she can even launch them clearing up hordes of monsters in one shot. Kensu whom many should also know made his first appearance in this game and he plays a lot like Athena. Just like original game entitled Athena the enemies are constantly spawning but overall this game plays quite smooth and has a nice feel to it something the original Athena game lacked. Overall the gameplay will please most casual gamers. But the enemies will start to overwhelm you eventually forcing you to put in another coin to continue. Psycho Soldier is built up of six long but addicting stages.

Graphics: 7.5 / 10
Smooth and silky just like Athena’s long purple hair. For a game made in 1987 the graphics are done quite well instead of Athena just sliding along the field she actually walks and her hair flips back and forth she also blinks occasionally very life like for a dated game. All the monsters are animated too. The backgrounds for the most part are city like with lots of buildings but as you proceed further the designers made cavern like stages and evil lairs to explore.

Sound: 7 / 10
Here’s a bit of history encase you never knew. Psycho Soldier was the first video game ever, yes EVER to incorporate vocals into the game. That’s another unique thing about this game. Although being the first game to features vocals they can’t be heard as well as you would have thought. Especially being in a noisy arcade to listen to the song Athena sings during gameplay its best to have it somewhere quiet. Otherwise the usual pops and ca-chings can be heard when smashing rocks or destroying enemies. Every now and then Athena will say something just when she emerges for her craft after dying to play again she says “I will go”. Probably listening to Athena speak English in her very first game is a big highlight towards the sound department.

Storyline: 6 / 10
Fairly weak here. But it was still an early game so it’s understandable. Basically Athena and her friend Kensu are using their special powers to save the world from the evil monsters and mutants. Although the storyline is much better than the original Athena in which she decided to go adventuring because she was bored. Overall the story in my opinion could have had a little more thought added to it too.

Characters: 6 / 10
Okay lets see Athena Asamiya, check, Sie Kensu, check…Anyone else? No not really unless you count all the shifty looking detective monsters and the dinosaur bugs there are only two characters in Psycho Soldier. Not to mention they have the ability to transform when they find a large egg. Athena turns into a Phoenix and Kensu a Dragon. At least they are very well-liked characters and overall they are what make the game so fun.

Replay Value: 7 / 10
Replay is there. Just like many other additive early games such as Super Mario Bros. and Pac-Man. Psycho Soldier has its replay values with the lovely 2-D graphics, great characters, nice vocal track and well crafted gameplay. Its also very fun to play in two player mode with both Athena and Kensu on screen just demolishing enemy after enemy.

Overall: 7 / 10
If you have played KOF before and wondered how Athena Asamiya was inspired and became and instant fan favourite you owe it to yourself to check out her first fight. Any other SNK game fans that haven’t played Psycho Soldier really ought to because you are missing out on a fair SNK classic. Overall this game can only be played in the Arcades and it’s probably nearly impossible to find now so your best bet is emulation. Either way Psycho Soldier is a must play game for fans of SNK games. SNK really should to think about re-releasing this game some time.

Rating: 7

Product Release: Psycho Soldier (US, 12/31/87)

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